US, South Korea sign deal for paying more for American military
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US, South Korea sign deal for paying more for American military

US President Donald Trump has earlier threatened to withdraw some of the 28,500 US troops stationed in South Korea unless Seoul increases its financial contributions to the military deployment. Under a previous contract, which expired in December, South Korea had been paying $830 million of its taxpayer money per year to the United States to pay for about 28,500 American troops stationed in the region. Trump is reportedly also planning to apply more pressure on South Korea when the leadership of the two countries meets in coming months for the new cost-sharing deal which requires parliamentary approval in South Korea. US Ambassador to Seoul Harry Harris and South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha signed the new deal on Friday during a ceremony, where Kang called the agreement “the results of hard work and sometimes difficult work” that “the alliance can build upon to become stronger and greater.” Meanwhile, Ambassador Harries said the agreement underscores “the importance of iron-clad nature of our alliance.” Earlier this week, Trump cited "cost" as the reason for canceling annual joint military exercises with South Korea. Trump tweeted that “the reason I do not want military drills with South Korea is to save hundreds of millions of dollars for the US for which we are not reimbursed.” After his first summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore last year, Trump suspended a major US-South Korea exercise, calling joint it “very provocative” and “massively expensive.” “The reason I do not want military drills with South Korea is to save hundreds of millions of dollars for the US for which we are not reimbursed," Trump tweeted. He also made the similar comments following his recent summit with the North Korean leader in Vietnam. “I was telling the generals — I said: Look, you know, exercising is fun and it's nice and they play the war games," Trump told reporters. "And I'm not saying it's not necessary, because at some levels it is, but at other levels it's not. But it's a very, very expensive thing. And you know, we do have to think about that too.”

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